Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Review: Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul



I'll be honest. This is the first book I've read by Donita K. Paul. But it won't be the last. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of *Two Tickets to the Christmas* Ball. My only complaint is that is was short. It left me wanting more of Cora and Simon. I want to know what happens next. But that's not really a bad thing. Is it?

The story is very reminiscent of The Shop Around the Corner and You've Got Mail. I love a "diamond in the rough" story. You know, that person that's always been there but when they finally get their "shining moment" they become the love of your life.

I foresee this book becoming a Hallmark holiday special. It's got all the elements of a fun movie. The lead characters who aren't really looking for love but find it anyways. Mysterious matchmakers who get them ready for the ball. People who know each other but come to really see each other for the first time.

This book comes highly recommended! It's one of those books you keep around to read at least once a year. That is if your friends don't swipe it.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, December 10, 2010

New stuff to be excited about!

I started blogging for books! I'm really excited. The first book I received was "Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball" by Donita K. Paul. I'm really loving the book so far. Kind of a "You've Got Mail" type story. The review is coming as soon as I finish reading. But in the meantime, here's a book trailer for it. It's not really descriptive but here it is anyways.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's that Time again! Countdown to Thanksgiving printable.



I love Thanksgiving! It's right in the middle of the holidays and also in fall which is my favorite season. So I thought I'd share a printable I created for my kids a few years ago.

This is Tom Turkey. He's not very happy. Do you know why? He knows that Thanksgiving is coming soon. lol. So feel free to print Tom and share him. Just link back if you post him on your blog. I'd love to see your pics! We've been doing this since I created it in 2005 and my kids look forward to it every year.

Countdown to Thanksgiving

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Super Mario Birthday Party

Just wanted to share some pics from my sons Super Mario Birthday Party we hosted this week! Last year we did a Legend of Zelda Birthday Party.

Here's what we did. First for some decor we got some gold star balloons from the dollar tree and made little construction paper eyes. There was one balloon for each boy at the party.



We also set up a Bowser Game station. Just a presentation board we had around the house. The boys took turns setting up games with the cups and ping pong balls.



My oldest son and I worked together to make this block poster from the original Mario game. And the boys took turns getting their pictures taken as Mario.




I didn't get pictures of this but the boys also played Boo Light Tag (hide and seek outside with a flashlight). It was a sleepover. The birthday cake was a 10-up mushroom. I'm still learning fondant but I think it turned out well.



The boys each went home with goody bags filled with Mario gummies and hard candies that we found at the dollar tree. I think the most we spent on the party was for the pizzas. The boys spent the rest of the time playing video games. Boy parties are so much easier. lol

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tutorial: The 15 minute No Sew Skirt

giveaways

I am not a big skirt wearer. I don't like them very much. They never seem to fit right or something. Also it may have to do with the fact that I wasn't allowed to wear pants or shorts until I was in 7th grade. Long story. But I do love tshirts and I've been reading a lot of blogs and books lately that discuss recycling tshirts. So as I was sitting at the theater last night watching Eat, Pray, Love (which was lovely but seriously way too long) I zoned out for a few and designed this skirt in my head.

It seriously took me 15 minutes from start to finish. And I didn't even get out my sewing machine. This would be a great craft for a sleepover. So here it is: The 15 minute no sew skirt!

What you need:
A pair of scissors
A tshirt
15 minutes

Note: I'd go with a little bit bigger size than you wear. I had this tshirt that I won in a giveaway and it was really too big. this one is a 2x large.




















So there ya go! A cute and super cheap skirt. If you wanted to get "fancy" you could hem it up or add some sort of accents. But I think it's a cute running around skirt.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Curtains on the cheap

Note: Please ignore the clutter in the curtain pic.

I don't like to pay a lot of money for things if I don't have to. Who does? When we moved to our house to find that our bedroom has 3 windows, I needed curtains fast. So I came up with a quick fix that didn't cost a lot.


What you need per window:
One flat sheet (I used twin size for a window around 36") $3
One curtain rod (I used cafe rods, there are cheaper ones available)~$4
One pack of clip rings~$4
Final cost with rod ~$11 per window


Hang the curtain rod. You can iron the sheet(s) if you want but they tend to straighten out just hanging there. You could also just throw 'em in the dryer for a few. Anyways after that you hang the ring clips on the rod. The pack I got at Wally world had 7. Now fold over the top of the sheet according to how long you want your curtain to hang. And attach the clips to the fold you just made. I'd start on the ends and then the middle and so on, just so they are even. And taa daa, you have a curtain. I was doing this for the kids rooms today and thought I'd share.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ruffles Are So In! (or Why my butt continues to grow)



I started to write an entry about all the awesome crafts and clothing styles I've seen lately that incorporate ruffles. However, when I began to jot down the linkage I realized that I couldn't remember how I'd gotten there. So I retraced the "steps" that I took to find this cute necklace tutorial. And I realized that I would be robbing you of the wonderful experience that I had finding it if I didn't link to the sites that lead me to the blog where I found it. So without further ado, welcome to my stream of consciousness. It takes me on wonderful adventures.

I started out checking my Google Reader and saw this, which has absolutely nothing to do with ruffles. But seriously who is not gonna click on that?:
"To the Parents of the brattiest kid at McDonalds tonight..."
from Somewhat Simple
http://www.somewhatsimple.com/2010/08/to-parents-of-brattiest-kid-at.html
Warning: This is the funniest entry I've ever read. If I hadn't already drank all my sweet tea I would have spewed it on my monitor.

On the sidebar of Somewhat Simple I saw an ad for EZ Crafts with Karlista - who btw is 12! Really cute site and a much more devoted blogger than I.
http://ezcrafts.karlista.com/

She had created a really cute Bible holder/cover from a tutorial that she found on:
Buttons & Bangles
http://www.buttonsandbangles.blogspot.com/
Who is also 12! I'm not sure I was nearly that crafty when I was 12.

Okay, so here's where my mind draws a blank cause after this I somehow ended up at this blog:
Ruffles and Stuff - the prettiest ruffle necklace ever! I'm not a huge jewelry fan but I'm seriously becoming one.
http://www.rufflesandstuff.com/2010/06/my-ruffle-necklace.html
She got the idea for this necklace from a tutorial on:

Poppy Chic Designs
http://poppychic.blogspot.com/2010/06/shabby-chic-ruffle-necklace.html
Also check out her other tutorials.

So anyhoo, that's how I found that tutorial for the cute ruffle necklace. Now I'm off to try to recreate it.




Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review: Beguiled by Deeanne Gist
















I'm a huge fan of Deeanne Gist - I'm just gonna go ahead and put that out there. The first book I read by her was A Bride in the Bargain, which is still my favorite. She's got a great writing style; her settings are so well researched and believable that you walk away feeling as though you've vacationed there.

This book differs from Gist's previous novels because it was a joint effort with J. Mark Bertrand, a suspense/crime writer. Bertrand's suspense background was a useful influence; it made for a story that was not only a great romance but also kept you on the edge of your seat till the very end. The romance and mystery were so well blended that it enhanced the story and made for a richer experience.

Beguiled is set in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston is a city of rich history and I really enjoyed the setting. Rylee Monroe, our unlikely heroine, is a dog walker in the old money part of Charleston. She's kind of in her own little world. She loves the dogs she walks, as well as, their owners and has become well trusted. But when a string of "Robin Hood" burglaries hit, Rylee's reputation comes under attack.

Enter Logan Woods, a reporter for the local paper. He's covering the burglaries and moonlighting as a crime novel author. When he begins to research, he runs into a common element in all the burglaries: Rylee Monroe. Suddenly, Rylee becomes the focus of his investigative reporting.

Rylee and Logan are polar opposite characters. Even though Rylee and Logan both grew up in Charleston, their lives have taken completely different paths...it makes for interesting interactions. As for Rylee, she's a very down to earth person: sweet but guarded. She's used to taking care of herself and others but is a little naive about it. She sees the world as it has been presented to her and tends to not look deeper. She doesn't see the mystery in things. Logan, on the other hand, finds the mystery in everything. He is, at the heart of him, an investigative reporter. He doesn't just live in the city but he knows it and is part of it.

Logan surrounds himself with a network of friends, family and colleagues that know him and are always there for him. Other than her sometimes lucid Grandmother, Rylee finds family in the next door neighbor, the dogs she walks and the owners.

The plot isn't ground-breaking or anything but it's good. Isn't the point of a good mystery to keep you guessing till the very end? Well, this book does that. Their story is sweet and funny. You really feel like you know that characters when you finish reading. If you are a fan of Deeanne Gist you will not be disappointed with this great book. I highly recommend it!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

In honor of Father's day I'm posting this picture of me and my dad.


I haven't shared this but my dad passed away on February 6th of this year. I haven't been able to bring myself to talk about it much. It still feels a little surreal. He was only 57. It was a very sudden thing. Although, he had been suffering with liver disease for several years. He was a happy person. He was a pastor for as long as I remember. I grew up watching him at the pulpit. He was Santa to my children. We never told our kids about Santa but he insisted on dressing up for them. So everytime they saw a Santa at the mall, they'd say "Look there's Papa!"

I'm sure at some point I'll be able to sit down and write about his passing and how it's affected me. But this is not that day. Today, I'm just gonna wish you a happy Father's day. Remember to call your dad, if you've forgotten. Give the man in your life a big hug and kiss and be grateful for the time we get with them.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Flower Pens: A Tutorial























Once again, I'm a complete slacker. I do have a life. I just don't take the time to share it on my blog. I'm hoping to start blogging more often. And so to make up for my lack of yack I'm posting a tutorial. I am all about gifts and all about frugality. I got all this stuff from the Dollar Tree. So for the teachers that have my kids for 2 days a week I thought I'd give them a little May cone. I'll post pictures of those if I remember. But each of the cones will have a flower pen. And here's how I made them.

Materials:
floral tape
ball point pens
fake flowers
various pliers (not pictured, just to get the caps off the pens and cut the flower stems)


Step One:
Get the cap out of the pen. It took a few tries and a few different tools but these pliers were the ones that worked.
Step Two:
Cut off a flower. Cut the step about 1.5 inches shorter than the barrel of the pen. Then bend up the end of the stem as shown.

Step Three:
Insert the stem into the barrel of the pen and push it in till it stays. It should be a little snug.


Step Four:
Take your floral tape and starting at the top slowly wrap the barrel of the pen. Make sure you wrap any of the flower stem that's sticking out of the barrel as well. The floral tape is stretchy so use that to your advantage. Just don't pull too tight of it will rip. If that happens, just over lap and continue to the bottom of the barrel. Note: I wrapped all the way down and all the way back up.


Step Five:
Admire your handy work.

They look really pretty in a jar all together.

The only problems I ran in to with this craft is that the dollar store floral tape was a little sticky on both sides when wrapping the pens. However, we have been testing the pens for days now and they aren't sticky anymore.

Enjoy this craft. I know I did.